Written By: The Forem | Last Updated: November 2022
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A recent review published by the Society for Human Resource Management found that while leadership skills are universally sought-after, they are also lacking in many industries.
SHRM’s research revealed that “both HR professionals and executives view leadership development as a major human capital challenge now and in the foreseeable future.” This gap in leadership skills even extends to human resources professionals, with analysts revealing that executives “would like to see stronger leadership qualities among the ranks of HR professionals themselves.”
Though professionals are in agreement about the value of leadership skills, this hasn’t led to a widespread increase in investment in corporate leadership training. Meaning: many organizations are missing out on the benefits that come from instigating leadership programs for all employees.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of employee leadership training in more detail, then explain some of the common pitfalls of overlooking this essential training.
The Benefits of Leadership Training for Employees
No matter how experienced a professional is, there’s always room to learn something new. Dedicated leadership skill training is just one example of how professionals can improve their impact – both for the benefit of themselves personally and the business under which they are employed.
A business cannot hope to reach its full potential unless all staff are engaged, motivated, and fulfilled at work. Promoting opportunities for growth through training is one of the best ways to ensure that every team member comes to work with an intrapreneur mindset (more on that here), prepared to actively contribute and collaborate effectively with colleagues.
Knowing how the business works
This knowledge might seem second nature to senior staff and heads of departments, but companies should never overlook what more junior team members could do with dedicated training on how the business functions — an essential capacity of an emerging leader.
Remember: all employees will approach challenges and obstacles from a completely different perspective, so sharing a unifying framework of how the business works with all team members can lead to more effective cross-functional collaboration.
When employees have a greater level of insight into how the company is run, they are able to connect their personal actions to the overall impact on the business far more easily. They also have a better understanding of the interests and motivations of all key stakeholders, and are therefore more able to appropriately offer their expertise and strengths to get the best results for the business.
Put simply: following leadership training that covers this essential groundwork, employees can visualize how their work is helping the company meet its targets, encouraging more active idea sharing and collaboration.
Goal setting and strategy building
Leadership training isn’t just useful in training the leaders of tomorrow. It’s also beneficial when it comes to writing new strategies and setting realistic targets in one’s current role — both professionally and personally.
With widespread leadership training, employees gain the skills they need to attain individual goals that sustain the momentum of their careers. They also benefit from knowledge that could fuel more detailed and realistic long-term initiatives, built on measurable, sustainable strategies that put the company in the best place for growth over time.
Leadership training hones communication skills, equipping team members with the ability to communicate more effectively with their colleagues and stakeholders.
One of the key benefits of improvements in communication is of course a boost in teamwork, which inevitably leads to departments working more harmoniously together. And this never fails to lead to positive, highly visible results for any company.
Brilliant communicators are immensely capable of representing a brand in all facets of their role, and make great brand advocates, too. Employees are more likely to be able to share the message of your company with friends, family, and industry connections if they are equipped with the skills they need to communicate effortlessly.
But effective communication isn’t just beneficial from a business perspective. It’s also enormously helpful for staff on a personal level. Team members gain the ability to self-advocate, which helps them achieve personal goals and solve problems more creatively and collaboratively.
Making Employee Leadership Training Company-Wide
Employee leadership training is not a new idea, but surprisingly few companies introduce it on a company-wide level. Typically, businesses have opted to focus such training on specific leaders and future leaders, due to restraints on time and budgets. But the benefits of leadership training are clear — so why not amplify those benefits at scale?
Introducing employee leadership training company-wide leads to several positive knock-on effects. It helps to build the brand’s talent pipeline while preventing churn, and spurs innovation and creativity by ensuring that the company has more people capable of speaking their minds and relaying their ideas to the business.
When leadership training is open to all staff, it nurtures a feeling of belonging and community. Team members are less likely to see a division between those who lead and those who follow if all are encouraged to take up the same training opportunities.
Alas, businesses opting to deliver leadership training to all remain a minority. Choosing not to invest in your own talent pool will almost certainly harm the company’s ability to fulfill its potential. In fact, there are a few serious pitfalls that can occur as a direct result of overlooking leadership training.
Backpedaling on diversity, equity, and inclusion:
Reserving leadership training for those who are already in such positions, or those who are in “high potentials” programs, leave the company vulnerable to bias. That’s bad news for wider DEI initiatives.
Failed or minimal ROI:
If leadership training is reserved for those already in positions of leadership (i.e., those who need the training the least), it can’t hope to deliver the most meaningful impact. By sponsoring training for potential future leaders, companies see a much more positive return on their investment.
All businesses hope to attract highly motivated and ambitious professionals, but those professionals are likely to look elsewhere if they don’t feel they have the potential to advance where they are. By making leadership training accessible to all, companies can demonstrate that there are opportunities for growth in the future, under their roof.
There’s no denying the impact of leadership training. Equipping staff with leadership skills provides immeasurable benefits, from retention and motivation to communication and collaboration. But of course, companies don’t have unlimited budgets to train all staff.
That’s where The Forem’s one-stop shop for career advancement training comes in. Our Level Up: Enterprise Training scales via our intuitive tech platform to maximize the delivery and impact of leadership training. Designed for emerging leaders, the program is accessible and affordable to scale to all employees –- no matter the size of your operation.